English Documents

Definition of Subject:

            “The limits of my language means the limits of my world” – Ludwig Wittgenstein


The study of English is the study of words and ideas. More precisely, the study of English at KCC is the study of the power of words and the exploration of how they can empower humans to share their thoughts and ideas. The study of literature is the study of human nature. Through engaging in literature, and exploring the craft of writing, we can engage with universal human experiences and shape our own powerful voices in society.


Nature of Subject:

English as a discipline is often viewed as two separate but closely related areas: the study of language and the study of literature. While these are examined as two separate subjects at GCSE, we encourage students to see them as two parts of one whole. A strong knowledge of technical aspects of language helps students to refine their literary analysis, while a strong knowledge of literary works and concepts helps them to understand how language is used in the world around us.


English Literature focuses on the study of literary works, including a range of poetry, prose and drama from across time and space. Students begin by exploring the concept of authorship and intentionality before developing their ability to analyse how texts are shaped by writers to fulfil a wide range of purposes. English Language focuses on the study of technical and grammatical aspects of English, with students taking on the roles of both analyst and creator of texts.


Purpose of Subject: To support students in becoming expert English scholars.

English at KCC is shaped around the theme of ‘power and empowerment’. This reflects our key objectives:

  • To arm students with the powerful knowledge of our literary tradition and the various ways in which it can be interpreted and evaluated.
  • To develop students who are skilled readers of literary and non-literary texts, and who can use reading as a way of expanding their knowledge of the world.
  • To allow students to experience the power of literature, develop a love of reading and appreciate the artful crafting of language.
  • To empower students to use language with precision, range and creativity in order to share their views and shape their worlds.
  • To provide students with the procedural knowledge required to write accurately in a range of contexts, including formal, academic fields.
  • To encourage students to find their own voices and speak with authority and confidence.


Curriculum Overview:

Year 7: Students explore the dual concepts of authorial intention and reader response. Their studies start with the exploration of fable and allegory, including Aesop’s Fables and Animal Farm. Students use Animal Farm to explore the concept of ‘theme’ and to discuss wider intentions beyond narrative entertainment. Having developed knowledge of the intentionality of texts, students then move on to apply this to their own writing, in the form of Gothic descriptions inspired by their reading of The Woman in Black and Pullman’s stage version of Frankenstein. Finally, students use Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as a vehicle for exploring rhetoric. This is accompanied by the exploration of rhetoric used in a range of modern-day texts including political speeches.


Year 8: Year 8 students will build on their knowledge of intentionality by focusing in more depth on writer’s choices, and by exploring the role that genre and form have on shaping texts. Students begin with the exploration of poetry through the ESW anthology, alongside reading the verse novel Long Way Down. This study aims to focus students on the intentional choice of words, imagery and structural features when constructing texts. This focus then develops in Cycle 2 to explore a range of first-person texts including monologues and opinion articles. Students explore the use of language to construct voice with opportunities to explores diverse topics using their own authorial voice and to explore alternative views and voices. Finally, Cycle 3 brings the study of Romeo and Juliet. Through the use of whole-text overviews and a series of selected extracts, students will trace the presentation of a specific character or theme, focusing on how a writer’s viewpoint is constructed and sustained across a longer text.


Year 9: (In 2022/23, Year 9 students have followed a different curriculum in Years 7 and 8). The focus for Year 9 is on the craft of writing. Through the study of Lord of the Flies and Power and Conflict Poetry, students explore the choices made by writers in order to convey universal themes, including form, word choice, character function and character development. Dystopian fiction then forms the inspiration for students exploring their own choices as writing, with the end product being student developing their own dystopian stories. Finally, students explore the use of rhetoric in Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’ speech before exploring rhetoric and other devices used by Priestley to present ideas about society in An Inspector Calls.

Year 10: In Year 10, students draw together their work on authorial intention and writer’s craft to develop their analytical skills. The year starts with the study of Jekyll and Hyde, with students focusing on Stevenson’s ideas about the essential nature of humanity. We also explore further poems from the Power and Conflict anthology, building on the work in Year 9 and developing students’ skills in comparative analysis. Students are guided to develop their sophisticated, academic written style and to deepen their analysis of texts. Through their text study and further work on unseen fiction analysis, students also work towards the skills needed for their English Language GCSE. At the end of Year 10, students focus on writing viewpoint texts and link this study to the development of their Spoken Language presentations.


Year 11: In Year 11, students begin by studying their final text for English Literature: Macbeth. Here, they build on their knowledge of Shakespearean context and explore how the play presents ideas about kingship, ambition and the supernatural. Reading focuses first on developing plot and character knowledge in order to build students’ enjoyment of reading Shakespeare and to appreciate the universal ideas behind his plays. Students will then study the final poems from the Power and Conflict anthology, with a focus on independent interpretation skills and unseen analysis. Year 11 students are prepared to take AQA GCSE examinations in English Language and English Literature.


Year 12: In 2022/23, we have two ‘A’ Level courses running in both Year 12 and Year 13: AQA A Level English Language and AQA A Level English Literature (‘A’ specification).

The English Language course builds on the bridging work completed by students at the end of Year 11, and arms them with initial knowledge of the key terminology needed to undertake a linguistic framework analysis of spoken and written texts. Students are then introduced to the concept of sociolinguistics, exploring how language choices are shaped by class, gender, occupation, region and social group. This allows students to develop understanding of linguistics as an area of research, and to engage with theories and ideas. In the final term of Year 12, students focus on their own use of research methods, planning and initiating their own research into an area of language use. This arms students with the skills needed in Year 13 for their NEA research projects. Year 13 students also study areas of Child Language Acquisition and Language Change.


In English Literature, students begin by building on the bridging work completed by students at the end of year 11. The course starts with an overview of the literary canon and key movements in literature. Alongside this, students are reminded of the skills of independent analysis and introduced to the idea of viewing texts through critical lenses. From this starting point, students study a range of literary texts, including The Great Gatsby, Othello, Feminine Gospels and The Handmaid’s Tale. Through the study of these texts, students develop their analysis skills and are introduced to critical and theoretical perspectives. In Year 13, students have the opportunity to revisit these texts, making thematic links between them and exploring their construction in greater depth. They also add A Streetcar Named Desire to their repertoire of texts, along with completing their study of poetry. Students work on their NEA projects, involving independent research and study of texts reflecting personal areas of literary interest.


As part of our sixth form curriculum we also offer a GCSE English Language resit class, both for students who did not achieve a grade 4 or higher in their initial attempt, and for students who wish to improve their grade. Students receive regular, skills-specific feedback based in order to help them make progress. We provide students with the opportunity to enter for resits in both the November and June series.

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